On Sunday, WAMG attended the press conference for STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, the new biopic from director F. It’s not just about hip hop. Coming full circle, the “Straight Outta Compton” narrative sacrifices their bodies on the altar of black masculine triumph and American dream-style redemption, signifying that the only occupying violence black America should really be concerned about is that perpetrated by the police. It’s hard because there’s a bunch of people we want to put in it, as much as bring back.
“I had seen the new trailers already even before [MC Ren] made those statements – Cube had sent me the new trailers – and it was just a matter of timing, that’s all”, Yella says.
Dre ultimately became a co-producer of the film, which covers the crew’s police-harassed origins; rise and notoriety at the 1980s dawn of gangsta rap; N.W.A.’s quick, delightfully dissy dissolution just as they reached the summit of success; Dre’s alarming yet rewarding collaboration with Marion “Suge” Knight that led to producing such top talents as Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur and, well, more trouble. You got this role, don’t worry about mimicking me or impersonating me… I had the time of my life. The preparation was a bit different for Jason Mitchell. The five actors playing N.W.A.re-recorded the 1988 album the movie is named after (the film mixes their tracks with the originals) and re-staged high-energy performances from the band’s only national tour. So to see him do this on the big screen, it was great.
Jackson: I’m working on my autobiography (laughs).
“We had to learn the political climate, we had to learn the music – we got the USBs with, like, 300 songs on ’em”, he says. “Because Easy-E is no longer with us, I couldn’t get that direct feedback”.
Production of the N.W.A. movie hasn’t been without its share of controversy. As it turned out, as soon as Mitchell stepped in front of the camera, he was so spot-on that many told him it was as if they were seeing a ghost – “for me, that was the highest compliment and it meant so much to me”. “You can say something; you don’t have to just sit back and let it happen”. What will be the impact of Straight Outta Compton 20 years from now? The messages that are in this movie are something that the human spirit must be reminded of constantly so I don’t think this film will ever be out of date or anything like that because the things that we are trying to embed in people’s minds are things that we need to be refreshed on every now and then, and a powerful movie like ours will inspire and fuel the fire, and I think this movie will stand the test of time. “Just play the role and feel it. Then you will look like me and sound like me”.